Discussing Firearm Ownership and Access as Part of Suicide Risk Assessment and Prevention: “Means Safety” versus “Means Restriction”

Ian H. Stanley, Melanie A. Hom, Megan L. Rogers, Michael D. Anestis, Thomas E. Joiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this study was to describe the relative utility of the terms “means safety” versus “means restriction” in counseling individuals to limit their access to firearms in the context of a mock suicide risk assessment. Overall, 370 participants were randomized to read a vignette depicting a clinical scenario in which managing firearm ownership and access was discussed either using the term “means safety” or “means restriction.” Participants rated the term “means safety” as significantly more acceptable and preferable than “means restriction.” Participants randomized to the “means safety” condition reported greater intentions to adhere to clinicians’ recommendations to limit access to a firearm for safety purposes (F[1,367] = 7.393, p =.007, η2p=.020). The term “means safety” may be more advantageous than “means restriction” when discussing firearm ownership and access in clinical settings and public health-oriented suicide prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-253
Number of pages17
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • firearms
  • means restriction
  • means safety
  • public health
  • suicide
  • suicide risk assessment

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